The Dodgers have serious interest in free agent starting pitcher Jon Lester, according to a report by Rob Bradford and Alex Speier of WEEI, with one source claiming that the club has submitted an offer.
Prior to today, it was known that Lester received offers from the Cubs and the Red Sox, with the Giants maintaining interest. Earlier today, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported that the Dodgers were showing interest in the top free agent starters, including Lester, Max Scherzer and James Shields, rather than pursuing a trade for the Phillies' Cole Hamels, so WEEI's report jives with what Rosenthal is hearing.
The Dodgers have already lost Hanley Ramirez to the Red Sox in free agency, and perhaps rather than go after a bat via trade or free agency, they're content to add to their rotation. If that's the case, it's worth noting that while Shields and Scherzer both cost a pick after declining their respective qualifying offers, the Dodgers did gain a supplemental pick when Ramirez signed with Boston.
Another wrinkle is Zack Greinke's potential to opt out of his contract following the 2015 season. Signing Lester now might seem like overkill on the rotation, but he could slide right into the No. 2 starter spot if Greinke exercises his option. WEEI even proposed that the Dodgers could pursue Lester by offering a comparable deal to Greinke, including the opt-out, as they are at similar points in their careers.
A final attractive aspect to Lester for L.A., aside from not costing the team a compensation pick, is his dominance in the postseason. Lester has more playoff experience than any pitcher on the Dodgers staff and has a better record of performance in that time. The Dodgers have shown they have the resources to be competitive on any free agent, so they can't be counted out if they are truly interested. Whether he ultimately signs with them or not, the Dodgers' heavy interest in Lester means one thing for sure; his price just went up.